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UNC Launches New MD-MBA Degree

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine and Kenan-Flagler Business School announced May 23 that they have partnered to launch a unique dual-degree program offering medical students the opportunity to earn doctor of medicine and master’s of business administration degrees in five years.

Unlike most M.D.-MBA programs, the schools said Carolina’s goes beyond offering health-care management courses by also integrating leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship into the curriculum. The first students start classes this fall.

“One of greatest strengths at Carolina is our proximity to top-notch programs like the M.B.A. program at Kenan-Flagler,” said William L. Roper, dean of the School of Medicine and CEO of the UNC Health Care System, in a statement. “Graduates will be better prepared for leadership roles in all aspects of the health-care industry, such as hospital management, insurance and payer organizations, and entrepreneurial and commercialization enterprise.”

Another differentiating feature of the UNC dual degree is incorporating experiential learning approaches where students will develop solutions to pressing health-care problems by working with clinicians and health business experts associated with UNC Health Care. UNC Health Care, a leading medical center, will open its doors to innovation projects that will improve patient outcomes and introduce new innovations while reducing health costs, Roper said. Students will work with health-care practitioners in applying business principles to improving patient care.

“We are pleased to join the School of Medicine in this important dual degree, which is part of our larger partnership with UNC Health Care to train the health-care leaders of the future,” said James W. Dean Jr., dean of Kenan-Flagler, in a statement. “This unparalleled program – fusing the assets of top business and medical schools – will prepare leaders in science to continue to drive innovation in human health while they master tools to transform health care to reflect higher standards of affordability.”

Students must apply to and be accepted by both the M.D. program and the MBA program. They may apply to the dual-degree program either concurrently with an application to the medical school or in their first or second year in medicine. Successful candidates will complete the first three years of the M.D. program and then spend their fourth year in the core and elective MBA courses. In the fifth year, students will take electives in both the M.D. and MBA programs.

Future collaborations between the School of Medicine and Kenan-Flagler are expected to provide MBA and M.D. students not enrolled in the dual-degree program with resources and instruction on the changing landscape of health care. Plans include creating new courses for the existing MBA curriculum, offering health-care business electives for medical students not enrolled in the dual-degree program and working toward a dual Ph.D-MBA for other doctorate students in the medical school.